10 Goals for 2011

10 Goals for 2011

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions. Sure, I've had grandiose dreams for the upcoming year and have even believed I'd accomplish them once or twice. But when it comes to knowing myself, my motivation and my personal ADD when it comes to picking up new hobbies, I'm a realist. Plus, I never wanted to make resolutions for fear of beating myself up if and when I never followed through on them.

Last year was the first year I made a couple of goals for myself (not New Year's Resolutions) that  I actually went through with, accomplished and felt damn proud about. Last December, I vowed to get down to my freshman-year college weight by my 25th birthday. I did it with three weeks to spare and I actually got smaller throughout the spring/summer. It's the thinnest I've been my whole life and it felt awesome. I also pledged to run a half marathon and really kick my ass during training. I did both and crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life.

So, this year I'm really going to put some pressure on myself. I'm not going to skirt my way through life the easiest way possible. Challenges are tough (that's why they're called "challenges") but that toughness pays off in the end. I'm ready for a better version of myself. So here are a few things I believe will make me better/prouder/happier if I accomplish in 2011:

1. Do it all over again (back to skinny weight by April 1st) 
I managed to stay relatively svelte through about October this year. Though half-marathon training put about three extra pounds on me, I didn't mind it. Those three pounds spread a little and I slowly become less strict with my diet and nutrition - now I'm about 8-9 pounds heavier than I was in July. Most of that has come in the last couple months (Hello, Thanksgiving and Christmas treats!). But you know what? I did it before and I know I can do it again. I track what I eat and I work out hard - I know I'll get this goal! Plus, I only have eight pounds to lose this time, whereas last year it was more like 13-14.

2. Blog at least 3 times weekly 
I began this blog last year as a way to keep myself writing, and to hopefully entertain a few people (oh hai, my small handful of readers!). Previous to this blog, I kept more of an online journal (a livejournal, if you will) for years. This was in high school/college, before everyone and their aunt's parakeet had their own blog. I really enjoyed writing online, and I updated probably about five times a week! I'm a little busier now with a job, a live-in boyfriend and a cat, but there's no excuse for my sporadic posting. I'm going to shoot for at least three new posts a week - and hopefully at least one new recipe a week!

3. Finish a half marathon under 1 hour, 55 minutes
I ran my very first half marathon in 1:58. While I didn't meet the goal I had in my head, I still finished in under two hours, and that's a pretty big accomplishment for someone's first half marathon (and only my third running race ever - since junior high)! I'm so proud of finishing (and maybe even prouder of my 12 weeks of training through one of the hottest summers on record), but I keep thinking about that 1:55 goal - I was only three minutes off! So I am hellbent on meeting this goal in a half marathon this year. I haven't decided which race I'll run (I'd like to do a spring and a fall half), but I do know I've got to crush my previous time! It would be my first official PR :)

4. Learn how to use the DSLR comfortably with the manual settings
Eric got a new DSLR right before my half marathon and he's even let me play around with it a bit. I love holding the camera, cradling the lens and peering through the viewfinder when I snap photos. I love the crisp photographs it takes and I love even more sharing them with everyone I know. But I don't want to sail by using the automatic settings. What's the point of having a fancy camera if you don't use it the fancy way? I either want to teach myself or take a class on how to use the camera to its full potential. I want to be a photographic wizard. I want to show my wizardry to you, my readers. I want to be so proud of a photo I take I'll proudly frame it on a wall. I'm determined!

5. Triple my savings account by December 31st
This may be sad, but at 25 I started the first savings account of my life. Before that, I'd either been living on allowances or from anything that's left in my checking account after rent, bills and necessities. What would've happened if my car blew up? I'd be screwed. So I decided to do something about it, and this April I set up my very own savings account. I've accrued a decent amount thusfar, but I really want to build it up this coming year. I'd like not to have to touch it for a whole year, if I can. I'm going to try my hardest to be as frugal as possible (not having six weddings to attend should help with that), so hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a nice chunk of change stashed up! 

6. Knock it off with the "no problems!"
Plenty of times in recent years I've noticed when thanked (especially while at work), I issue the standard "No problem!" response, rather than a polite "You're welcome." I know this probably isn't a major problem, but it does bother me. My friend Mike recently pointed out he catches himself doing the same thing, so at least I'm not alone in thinking this is an issue that's worth resolving!

7. Keep in touch with friends more
This goal bothers me because it is so open ended. How often will I keep in touch? Through what means will I do so? I haven't quite ironed those parts out yet, but I do know that I'm blessed to have amazing friends throughout the country and I'm not exactly the best at catching up with them from time to time. It's easy to get caught up in my own little world, but I do love my friends dearly and I genuinely wonder what's happening in my friends' lives from time to time. So I need to call and find out for myself, rather than wait to find out through Facebook.

8. Submit at least one article for publication in a magazine/web site
This is the big one. This is a goal I've had for years and just never have even attempted. I love writing, but sometimes I lack motivation. I'm motivated to get published. I'm motivated to do a little freelance writing - it would inspire me to write more and to eventually do what I've always wanted to do for a living - write. First, I need to remember just how to get into the freelancing game. Then I need to make connections. The writing part should come easy to me. This is one I really, really want to tackle. Even if the story wouldn't get published, at least I'd try.

9. Sew at least five things
Last year I asked for and received a sewing machine for Christmas. My mom is pretty handy with the sewing machine, and I wanted to be able to whip up costumes - or at least hem pants - with the same ease. I made a couple pillows, touched up a Halloween costume, but really nothing more than that. I began to make a ruffled apron, but that project is still in the works 9 months later. I'm determined to sew at least five things from scratch this year - even if three of those things are just new pillows.

10. Be more outgoing
In certain situations, I'm the world's most fluttersome social butterfly. I love meeting new people, making new friends and going new places. I love to make people laugh. But around certain people, in certain settings, I'm ridiculously shy. Out of nowhere, I become this socially awkward introvert whose face flushes red whenever asked a question about myself. I have no idea why I have this double personality, but it's always bothered me. Especially at work - I really feel like it holds me back from letting people know the real me. I'm fun! I'm witty! I love kicking back with a few drinks! But of course no one would know that until they crack this odd shell that encases the outgoing Rachel. This Rachel is going to show herself more at work and with strangers/acquaintances than she ever has before.

So there you have it: My 10 goals for 2011. It's nice to have them posted on the blog to keep myself accountable, and so I can check back often to see where I am on pace!

Do you make resolutions for yourself? Do you usually follow through on them all?


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